MUNICH HIGH END SHOW: from stacked speakers to the best concert hall in the world - on wheels!

The annual show organised by Germany's High End Society has grown into a significant European platform for new product launches, as was evident from the announcements being made this year. Denon rolled out its first 'high definition' AV receiver, complete with onboard wireless networking, KEF gave the public the fist chance to see and hear its massive - and massively expensive - Muon loudspeakers, and B&W showed a complete new 600 Series range. But just as striking was how hard some companies were trying

to entertain and spark interest among showgoers.

Thus the Muon speakers made their debut in a large white cylindrical tent in the midst of the show floor, Naim Audio chose to publicise its presence with a radio-controlled airship hovering over the heads of visitors, B&W had its familiar mix of live music and demonstrations of its products, a trend echoed by more than a few other exhibitors, and a large amount of floorspace was taken up by what was claimed to be the 'Best Concert Hall in the World.'

That last one was, surprisingly, a BMW 5 Series estate car, parked in front of a huge banner and demonstrating live vs reproduced music using wireless links into its premium audio system. It was either a smart piece of selling by the show organisers - BMW has a huge facility right next to the show venue in Munich - or a sign of the times: other in-car demonstrations, a long way from the usual overblown bass and maximum sound pressure stuff of most such demos, were given by speaker maker MB Quart, Volkswagen/Dynaudio

and Jaguar/B&W.

See other news coverage for more star products from the show, but one of the most striking demonstrations was given by Marantz, launching its new Legendary series of Super Audio CD/CD player, preamplifier and monobloc power amps. To show off the new system, Marantz Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata looked long and hard at the Mordaunt-Short speaker range the company distributes in Europe, and came up with an amazing 'stacked pair' configuration of the Performance 6 loudspeakers, with one of the hi-tech floorstanders

inverted above the other in a custom-built frame.

The problem, Ishiwata explained, wasn't suspending the inverted speaker - the existing screwthreads provided for floorspikes proved up to the job, which is some tribute to the strength of the composite cabinet - but getting the precise three degree tilt from the vertical required for correct alignment of the speakers.

Connected in parallel, the speaker arrays presented an impedance of around 3ohms to the SM-9S2 mono amplifiers, which were thus delivering some 700w into each channel, more than enough to produce a pretty dramatic effect. And what if a showgoer fancied buying the 'P6 Duo' speaker arrays, which were delivering an almost flat frequency response in the far from ideal exhibition room? Ishiwata and Mordaunt-Short's Graeme Foy agreed, 'If they want them, we'll build a set for them.'

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.